It’s a whole year today since I left Mumbai. For any writer, if they have stayed in Mumbai, a memoir is customary. I suppose.
For a year now I have been trying to accumulate my experiences into a post, but countless drafts later, here I sit, writing yet another one.
When I sit down and think as to what really made the city for me —-Was it the traffic jammed roads or the over populated trains, the sky rocketing rents or the annoying land ladies? I realize Mumbai wasn’t so much about the place, it was never about the geography or standard of living, Mumbai for me was about one thing and one thing only – PEOPLE!
I lived in Mumbai for over half a decade, in that half a decade I encountered – Innocent Love, Fragile Friendships, Long Lasting Loyalties and a take my breath away heart break. Mumbai is where I grew up from a girl who had always been protected and guarded, to a woman who was capable of looking after herself.
What I loved the most about my stay in Mumbai? – The sense of anonymity. Going from a small place like Kuwait, where everyone knows what everyone else is doing and no matter what party you go to you will meet at least 3 people who know, someone else you know. Mumbai on the other hand gave me this complete stranger status – I could be whoever I wanted to be, the very size and population of the city sort of leaves you alone in a crowd. I could a lot of times do things, I could never imagine doing at home. In Mumbai, I was free of the phrase, “What will people think?”
I have met some of the most eccentric people in this city, who add such great value to my life; that it may be difficult to put it down in words. From Jaspreet – who invited the whole floor except me for her birthday, during my first weekend in hostel , to Neha – who heard me cry about the same things weekend after weekend never once looking impatient or bored. Then there is Shephali – who continues to show me the goodness I always miss and and Shreni – whose smile never fails to brighten up a gloomy day. Zain & Sosan – the long drives, hours of support and mindless banter has forever given me a sense of belonging in a city, where I had no one.
For a long time, I have been bitter about the city, because it was tough on me. It never made anything easy. And yet today, from where I stand, I see that I couldn’t have been half the person I am, if it wasn’t for all the challenges it threw at me. And no matter what happened, no matter how hard it got, it gave me a spirit that always emerged smiling. (Yes, the infamous – Spirit of Mumbai).
There is a sense of closure today, as I sit here and write. A little heart ache, many bitter sweet memories, relationships that I hope will last a lifetime and a few grateful droplets in my eyes.
Robert frost said, ““No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” I hope whoever is reading this can feel the emotions, because on this occasion I am truly short of words.
Thank you, to each and everyone who contributed to those 6 years. I carry a little bit of each one of you with me.
In my heart and in my soul.
Love Always, Z